Are We Now A Nation of Kings and Queens?

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Police confront protesters at a demonstration in Mumbai. Reuters photo.
Police confront protesters at a demonstration in Mumbai. Reuters file photo.

We are supposed to be a free democracy but our freedom is being taken away slowly. Students make a crossword puzzle using the PM’s name in a college mag: Arrested. Somebody makes fun of a historical figure or a politician, police go to the other end of the country to arrest the culprit! Where are we headed?

ROBERT CLEMENTS

[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]esterday at a girls school in Kerala, a principal waits at the gates of her school for the education minister to come for a function, after waiting for two whole hours in what must have been scorching heat, she goes back to her office, leaving her assistant at the gate, to get some work done.

After three hours thinking the minister isn’t coming she closes the gates and most probably asked the poor students standing there to come into their classrooms. The minister, P K Abdu Rabb then arrives in all his cavalcade glory, sees the gates closed, is infuriated, opens them by force and gets the function started:

The brave principal during the subsequent function gently chides the minister for making a schedule he couldn’t keep, and so great was the wrath of the minister he gets her transferred with immediate effect to a village posting!

Are we becoming a dictatorship?

The right to disagree, to discuss is part and parcel of democracy: As a nation, we unfortunately hardly know the British left India over a half a century ago, because government after government have used the same policing, the same archaic rules, the same bludgeoning of dissenters to see they are treated like Queen Victorias or Robert Clives.

We are free: I agree we did not have to fight too hard, did not have to lose too many lives to unshackle ourselves from the British, but are we a free nation? Free to speak against the president, PM, ministers, MPs, free to put our views up on social networking sites, free to ‘like’ some friend’s opinion, and free to realize this freedom cannot be taken away from us?

But this freedom is being taken away! Slowly and gradually: Students in a college make a crossword puzzle using the PM’s name in a college mag: Arrested. Somebody makes fun of a historical figure and a former political leader, police go all the way to the other end of the country to try and arrest the culprit!

There are many who feel that such curbs and strictness are necessary, ah well my friends, one day when your neighbor dumps his garbage in your backyard, looks lustily at your wife, grabs a part of your property and you bristling with a sense of injustice run to the law and find they sneer at you, then run to the press and find they have now become a bunch of scared rabbits, afraid to write a word against the establishment, then you have only yourself to blame.

When we remain quiet about these seemingly far away episodes, there’ll be a silence around when we ourselves become victims..!

All opinions and views expressed in columns and blogs are those of individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Caravan

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